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Real Education Empowering Lives

1705. Charlene Burns
1706. Kim Rogers

Charlene Burns and Kim Rogers, from Oldham, set up ‘Real Education Empowering Lives (REEL CIC)’, an initiative supporting vulnerable members of the local community, particularly parents.

Charlene Burns and Kim Lowe

‘REEL’ offers a range of services such as women’s enrichment work, family support groups, father’s group, parents and toddler groups, wellbeing and fitness activities, positive activities for children and young people, and bespoke support to meet individuals needs. They also provide crisis support, such as helping over 1,500 people receive emergency clothing, essential baby and home items, as well as engaging with the elderly and vulnerable to reduce social isolation, alongside food interventions and further support.

In a personal letter to Charlene, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I am lost in admiration for remarkable people like you and Kim who go out and help their communities with so much time and enthusiasm. You are an inspiration to us all in how to create positive change in other people’s lives. 

“So I want to thank you for all that you have done to support over a thousand people in Greater Manchester, from offering women’s support groups to activities for babies and toddlers.

“Your venture ‘Real Education Empowering Lives’ has truly been the lifeblood of your community and continues to provide a safe haven for those in need.”

In a personal letter to Kim, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Alongside Charlene, you have helped thousands of women with mentoring, parenting courses and practical items of clothing and hygiene products. For some of the more vulnerable women you support, these could be the only items they own and mark the start of a new life.

“Through ‘Real Education Empowering Lives’ you are truly changing lives for the better.”

Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Roydon, said:

“Last year I spent some time with ‘REEL CIC’ and saw first-hand just how dedicated they were to improving the lives of people on Fitton Hill and how much thought they put into the work they were doing particularly with families with young children.”

Charlene said:

“It is with great pride and honour that I have received this special recognition today by being named as a Point of Light. I am extremely proud of the diverse range of work we do at ‘REEL CIC’ that meets the needs of the communities we work in. Our swift response and agility during the pandemic, meant we were able to support those who needed it the most. We could not have achieved all that we have without our wonderful team, our volunteers and the community’s support.

“Thank you for this award and thank you so much to all those who have understood our vision and supported our work. Every one of you who have given your time, energy and passion to make a difference to other people’s lives, this award is for us all. You are all awesome. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Kim said:

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award for Team Reel. I feel privileged to have worked with an amazing community at a time when so many people needed support with their mental health and wellbeing. I am proud of how quickly our team came together and responded to supporting the community, especially those in crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work couldn’t have been achieved without the dedication and passion of the Team Reel staff and volunteers, for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for this Points of Light Award, we will continue to Engage, Encourage and Empower individuals to live a purposeful life.”

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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